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EADS Astrium Spain presents SMOS

EADS Astrium Spain presented the Earth observation instrument of ESA’s SMOS satellite, led by the Spanish Industry.

MIRAS instrument on SMOS mission. Credits : EADS CASA Espacio

Madrid, April 12, 2005: SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity mission)
is an Earth observation satellite which will enhance our knowledge of
the water cycle of the planet and will allow a better understanding of
the climatic changes in order to protect the environment.

The Secretary General of Industry, Mr. Joan Trullén, the Director of
CDTI (Centro para el desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial) Mr. Maurici
Lucena, the Presidente of EADS CASA Mr. Francisco Fernández Sáinz, as
well as the Managing Director of EADS Astrium Spain Mr. Pedro Méndez,
chaired this event, presenting the structural and electrical models of
the sole instrument on board the satellite.

EADS Astrium Spain signed the contract to build the satellite’s
instrument on June of 2004 (amounting to 61 million euros, 33 of which
would go to the Spanish industry), leading a team of companies of the
Spanish space sector and other European countries. All of them
contributing with their high technological expertise to the development
of this remote sensing instrument without precedent. The project
management represents a great challenge, since it must combine a large
industrial array with the stringent exigencies of the scientific

The CDTI, an organism of the Ministry of Industry and Spanish
delegation to ESA, has played a key role in the financing of this
project, the one with the most important technological and industrial
scope ever developed in Spain for the European Space Agency (ESA).

This project, as part of ESA ‘s second Earth Explorer mission of its
Living Planet Programme, will measure the soil moisture and the
salinity of the oceans by means of the radiometric instrument presented
today. These two parameters are of key interest to scientists in order
to prepare atmospheric, oceanographic and hydrological prediction
models. Salinity for instance, influences the ocean circulation, which
create weather phenomena such as El Niño or La Niña, that can cause
floods or droughts. The evaporation and filtration of water depend on
the degree of moisture in the soil and the water content of vegetation,
which are key elements in understanding the hydrological cycle and
monitoring the fresh water reserves of the planet.

The SMOS satellite will be put in orbit in March of 2007 with a Rockot launcher